NFL Betting News and Notes Thursday, August 14

NFL Betting News and Notes Thursday, August 14

Jacksonville - Chicago Preview

Blake Bortles was the first quarterback taken in this year's draft, and so far through one preseason game it looks as if the Jacksonville Jaguars made the right call as the rookie completed seven-of-11 passes for just over 100 yards. This coming Thursday Bortles and the Jaguars will take on the Chicago Bears, a traditional team that has turned more offensive than defensive-minded in recent years, making it likely Bortles has a strong second outing and further makes his case to be the team’s starting quarterback.

Players We're Watching

Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars- Bortles' rookie debut could hardly have gone better, but the rookie still has a long way to go and this second preseason game will be a telling one. If he continues to look the part of a franchise signal caller in the preseason it's more likely he'll get a start early in the season, but if he tapers off and shows he's in fact not ready for the spotlight he could be buried on the depth chart like originally planned.

Martellus Bennett, Chicago Bears- Martellus Bennett was a nice surprise for the Bears last season as the veteran tight end set career highs in receptions, targets, and yards, and was a dangerous third option for quarterback Jay Cutler. Bennett has been reinstated by the Bears after being suspended for a scuffle in practice, but if he can prove last season was no fluke this is a Bears offense that could be one of the best in the entire league with Bennett showing the potential to double his five touchdowns from last year.

Preseason Coaching Trends

Both Gus Bradley of the Jaguars and Marc Trestman of the Bears are entering their second NFL season as a head coach, and neither seemed to care all that much about preseason games last year as Trestman went 2-2 and Bradley 1-3 in the early season scrimmages. This year may be a bit different, however, as both teams won their first preseason game with the Bears putting up 34 points on the Philadelphia Eagles and the Jaguars scoring 16 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.


The Bears were impressive in their first preseason game as they had two quarterbacks pass for over 100 yards, neither being starter Jay Cutler. The Bears offense is built to move the ball down the field, and against a rebuilding Jaguars defense they very well could repeat their performance against the Eagles and score a total of four offensive touchdowns. The only thing stopping the Bears from an easy victory will be their defense, which struggled at times last week but ultimately held an explosive Chip Kelly offense to just one touchdown. The Jaguars have a quietly good first-team offense, but it's not on the same level as the Bears' which is why Trestman should remain undefeated in the 2014 preseason.

Pick: Bears

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Re: NFL Betting News and Notes Thursday, August 14

Jaguars vs. Bears Betting Preview and Pick
By: Craig Williams

The Chicago Bears and Jacksonville Jaguars kick off the second full week of NFL preseason action Thursday night at Soldier Field (8 p.m. ET, ESPN).

Line: Bears -4; Total: 42

Chad Henne (4-for-7, 30 yards) started in Jacksonville's first preseason game, but it was rookie quarterback Blake Bortles who made headlines in his pro debut. The No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft -- and the first quarterback off the board -- finished 7-for-11 for 117 yards and a 99.4 QB rating in the Jags' 16-10 win vs. Tampa Bay.

Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley remains adamant that Henne will be his starter in 2014 while Bortles soaks the game up from the sidelines in his first year. But he's also confirmed that Bortles will receive first-team reps at some point this summer.

Also worth noting is the potential Jacksonville debut of free agent running back Toby Gerhart, who has been out of action with a hip flexor injury. The ailment wasn't considered serious, but it still held him out for two weeks. He's returned to practice and could get on the field against Chicago.

The Bears were clicking -- offensively at least -- in their first taste of live football this season, outscoring the Eagles 34-28 in a preseason shootout. Big things are expected from Jay Cutler, who finished 9-for-13 for 85 yards and a touchdown, in his second year running Marc Trestman's offense. Backup Jimmy Clausen (7-for-13, 150 yards, 2 TDs) was impressive in relief last week.

Preseason records and trends: The strongest identifiable preseason trend related to this game is the Bears' 4-1 record to the OVER in Trestman's two seasons at the helm. The Jags were 3-1 O/U last preseason, Gus Bradley's first with the team, but last week's game with the Bucs stayed well UNDER the total. Jacksonville dropped its first three exhibition games last season, both SU and ATS, while the Bears are now 2-2-1 ATS in the preseason under Trestman.

The Linemakers' lean: If this were a Week 1 regular-season matchup, the Bears would be favored in the 12.5-13 range, and while the preseason is a different beast, the spread here still feels light to us. Sure, we noticed Bortles' performance last week, but Chicago's QB rotation is still superior. In terms of the total, despite the aforementioned trends to the OVER, we're not ready to trust the Jags' offense, so we'll stick to a play in the side. Chicago -4 is the play.

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Re: NFL Betting News and Notes Thursday, August 14

Game of the Day: Jaguars at Bears

Jacksonville Jaguars at Chicago Bears (-3.5, 42.5)

Jacksonville's quarterback situation takes center stage Thursday night as the Jaguars resume their NFL preseason schedule with a game against the Bears in Chicago. The Jaguars have already laid out who will play when, with incumbent Chad Henne expected to take the snaps in the first half and rookie Blake Bortles playing the entire second half. Jacksonville had a multitude of errors on the offensive end in its exhibition opener, a 16-10 win over Tampa Bay.

The Bears have their own storylines playing out under center, though Jay Cutler's starting job is quite safe. The battle of the backups will be front and center against the Jaguars, with former high school phenom Jimmy Clausen expected to see plenty of time Thursday as he competes with Jordan Palmer for the No. 2 spot behind Cutler. The Bears were also victorious in their preseason opener, outslugging the Philadelphia Eagles 34-28 at Soldier Field.

LINE HISTORY: The Bears opened -4, but the line has since dipped a half-point. The O/U has risen a half-point to 42 1/2.

INJURY REPORT: Jaguars: LB Paul Posluszny (biceps), WR Cecil Shorts (hamstring), DT Roy Miller (shoulder) and CB Aaron Colvin (knee) are all expected to miss the game; Bears: WR Marquess Wilson (collarbone) and T Jordan Mills (foot) aren't expected to play; S Chris Conte (shoulder) is questionable.

WHAT CAPPERS SAY: "This is the second year in the system under head coach Marc Trestman and after improving last season, things could be even more explosive in 2014. Jay Cutler had his best passer rating since his rookie season in 2006 and got a new contract to prove his worth. The defense can only get better with the additions of Jared Allen and D.J Williams." Covers Expert Matt Fargo

ABOUT THE JAGUARS (1-0): For as much attention is being paid to the battle between Henne and Bortles, the Jaguars are also paying close attention to the running game. Offseason acquisition and probable Week 1 starter Toby Gerhart will see his first in-game action in a Jacksonville uniform, and will get some sense of what he's dealing with on the offensive line. That cast of characters - featuring a host of inexperienced run-blockers - struggled against the Buccaneers to the point where they asked for - and were granted - an extra series to work out the kinks.

ABOUT THE BEARS (1-0): It isn't enough that Chicago has one of the top wide receiver tandems in the league in Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey, but a new weapon may have emerged in last week's victory over Philadelphia. Tight end Zach Miller stole the show with a pair of touchdown catches versus the Eagles, and has looked sensational in practice leading up to the game against the Jaguars as he looks to provide Cutler with one more pass-catching weapon. Miller - not to be confused with Seattle tight end Zach Miller - was a sixth-round pick in 2009 who is now on his third NFL roster.


* The Bears are 2-2-1 ATS in five preseason games under head coach Marc Trestman.
* The Jaguars have won two straight exhibition games SU and ATS after dropping their previous three.
* Chicago is 4-1 O/U in the preseason with Trestman at the helm.
* Jacksonville went 3-1 O/U in the 2013 exhibition season but was an Under in its 2014 opener.

COVERS CONSENSUS: 64.79 percent of wagers on Covers Consensus are backing the host Bears.

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